The Advantages of HIIT Training Versus Steady State Cardio


High-intensity interval or HIIT can be described as a 8 to 12 cycles of high-intensity exercises followed by low to medium intensity exercise. When done properly, the high-intensity exercise should reach near maximum intensity of what a person is capable of doing. An entire HIIT session should last at least 15 minutes, but not more than 20 minutes.

Several studies have been done to determine the difference of impacts on our body and system of traditional endurance training versus high-intensity interval training.

Tabata and other studies

One of the most well-known study, published by Tabata, in 1996 (Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max) describes a regimen composed of 8 cycles of 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise (170% of VO2max) followed by a 10 seconds rest, for a total of 4 minutes. Tabata compared subjects training with a 5 days x 20 minutes HIIT sessions and subjects using longer steady state cardio training (5 days x 60 minutes).

Other studies have used variations and slightly different approaches , such as 60 sec of of intense exercise (95% of VO2max) followed by 75 seconds of rest, repeated 8 to 12 times, or a 60 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 1 minute of low intensity, repeated 6 to 8 times.

The Benefits

All the studies came with similar conclusions: subjects using the HIIT training were able to obtain better gains, using shorter training sessions, when compared to subjects using longer steady state cardio training. For example, in the Tabata study, subjects using HIIT rather than steady state cardio finished with a higher VO2max and had increased anaerobic capacity.

Metabolic Boost

Even when doing nothing, your body need energy to function. The number of calories used if you were going to stay in bed all day doing nothing is known as your resting metabolic rate, or basal metabolic rate. HIIT has been shown to increase that resting metabolic rate up to 24 hours post-exercise (King J., A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women), which basically means that, in the 24 hours following your 20 minutes of HIIT session, your body keeps burning extra calories.

Fat Loss

Although there are some controversy about the topic, many studies have shown that HIIT also helps reduce body fat (King J. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women; Tremblay and al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism; Boutcher SH, High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.). It is well-known that the proportion of fat used decreases and the proportion of carbohydrates used increases with increasing exercise intensity. This is why, for many years, the recommended way to reduce body fat was low-to-moderate intensity exercices, such as jogging. However, in the past two decades, many studies have found significant fat loss following a high-intensity exercise training than a low-to-moderate exercise training method.

The are many theories that explain this. First, many suggest that the source of fuel is irrelevant to the ending result. Most trainers never took in account the impact of the post-exercise metabolism. As a matter of fact, high-intensity lead to a significantly higher post-exercise energy expenditure. Other studies show a higher use of fatty acids during recovery and a smaller appetite following high-intensity training. Other theories imply more complexed biology, such as an increase in acetyl-CoA carboxylase inactivation, resulting in more free-fatty acid oxidation (Tremblay and al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.).

Marathon Runners vs Sprinters

Still undecided on whether to train HIIT or steady state cardio? Observe the difference between the marathon runner and the sprinter.

marathoner vs sprinter female

You probably already noticed that sprinters have a much leaner and muscular look compared to marathon runners, who have tiny frames. Now ask yourself who has a better body.

In other words, HIIT is a great way to build up endurance and speed, to decrease body fat and to increase VO2 max and this, by drastically cutting down on cardio time.


1. Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996). “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28 (10): 1327–30. doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018. PMID 8897392.

2. King, J. (2001) “A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women”

3. Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. (1994) “Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.” Metabolism. Jul;43(7):814-8. PMID: 8028502

4. Boutcher SH. (2011) “High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.” J Obes. 2011;2011:868305. Epub 2010 Nov 24., PMID: 21113312

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Why Women Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Doing Weights

Because there are so many benefits to doing weights, both men AND women should include weight training as part of their regular workout program. While men usually will, still too many women avoid doing weights. Unfortunately, there are many myths about weight training, which often keep women from including them in their workout program. So let’s demystify some of the myths and facts about weight training.

1. The Big and Bulky Muscles Myth

Many women believe that weight training will make them big and bulky. But because women have a much lower level of testosterone than men, a hormone directly linked to muscle growth, they build muscles in a completely different way than men do. The truth is that, even in men who have much higher level of testosterone, building muscles and bulking up is not an easy task. Training alone will not give you bulky muscles and there are many other factors involved, which I will discuss in later chapters. Also, it is important to remember that getting stronger doesn’t always correlate with muscle hypertrophy (increase in volume). Indeed, strength can be increased through a better use of the already existing muscles rather than muscles hypertrophy. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that this is even more true in women!

2. Gain Muscle Mass and Lose The Fat

Will weight training increase your muscle mass? Yes it will, BUT in the same time, it will reduce your body fat, which means toner arms and trunk and an overall leaner look.

3. Gaining Weight by Looking Smaller

Many women swear only by their weight. Don’t be alarmed if you gain some weight from weight training. As a matter of fact, you may gain a few pounds after a few months of weight training, this is normal. But you will also probably notice that, on the other hand, your clothes fit better, and that your body looks smaller. This is simply because muscles weigh more than fat. By increasing your muscle mass and reducing your body fat, you could gain a few pounds while going down a few pant sizes.

4. Your Body Will Burn More Calories At All Times

Luckily for you, this is not a myth, but a fact. Each time you put on an extra pound of muscle, you will burn a few extra calories daily. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that weight training can boost the metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses when you are doing nothing) by almost 15%. This is because muscles, even when not being used, burn much more calories than any other tissue in the body. Therefore, that extra pound of muscles you just put on will burn an extra 35-50 calories per day. Replace that extra 10 pounds of fat with muscles, and now you are burning an extra 350-500 calories daily by doing absolutely nothing!

Although I think these 3 reasons alone should convince you to start you weight training regimen, there are so many other benefits to weight training: reducing your level of stress, get stronger (you won’t need to wait until your husband gets home to move the furniture around!), reducing the risks of osteoporosis by increasing the bone density, reducing the risks of heart diseases (just like any physical activity) and of course, feeling so much better about yourself.

Find a great list of weight training workouts on Nat Personal Training.

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3 Positive Effects of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient Indian art which has it roots in the Antiquity period, and is one of the most widely spread form of mediation and exercise to this day. Its efficiency in relieving muscular pain and stress does not have to be proved anymore as countless studies in all continents have already showed these benefits.

The yoga art is popular partly due to its high accessibility. Many schools and teachers spread worldwide in theirs studios and gyms teach yoga, and its the accessibility of yoga DVDs often make it the preferred exercise at home. Yoga requires very little equipment: simple comfortable clothes are often more than enough, although a small yoga mat is a nice add-on. Learning the different yoga positions and breathing exercises can be done easily, although it can take months, if not years of practice to perform the more advanced moves. There are many benefits from doing Yoga.


Yoga increases flexibility. An adequate range of movement is important for long-term injury prevention. An improve flexibility will lower the chance of injuries and can even improve daily performance. Gymnastic, dancing, martial arts and many other activities require good flexibility, and yoga is often the preferred exercise to improve flexibility. As a matter of fact, some martial arts even have a special focus breathing exercises, which will help develop more focus.


Yoga can also lower the amount of lactic acid after exercising. Lactic acid is produced when muscles is exposed to a high level stress, such as working out or playing a sport. The resulting lactic acid will bring muscular pain. This is why it is highly recommended to do stretching after any physical activity, which can be achieved using various yoga postures.

Stress reliever

One of the most well-known benefit of yoga is the stress reliever effect. Indeed, the peacefulness and calmness of yoga is beneficial to anyone, regardless of whether it is for a stressed person spending his or her day at the office or for the drained person working all day at the factory. In today’s society, most people are running around with a very busy schedule, and the practice of yoga allows for that important moment of relaxation, which can increase both physical and mental health.

Overall, the practice of yoga leads to a healthier lifestyle, which brings a general sensation of wellness. People who practice yoga are generally both physically and spiritually more healthy, therefore more happy.

Happy Yoga!

By : Nat Personal Training

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